Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Program (PHEPR)

Preparing for, responding to, and assisting in the recovery of natural and human-caused public health incidents and threats.

Program Overview

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response program at Spokane Regional Health District works with other public health staff, healthcare providers and community agencies to respond effectively to public health emergencies in and around Spokane County.

It is important to understand the threat and hazards to our community in order to be prepared and recover quickly if a public health event strikes Spokane County and surrounding areas.

The program is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and managed by Washington State Department of Health.

Preparing for Wildfire Season

As we move into our summer season, we are all enjoying the beauty surrounding us outdoors. We should also be preparing to protect our outdoor spaces against wildfire. We can all help protect our property and our community by taking steps toward creating defensible spaces. A defensible space is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect a building from a wildfire and can often be created by the property owner.

  • Wildland and landscape vegetation such as grass, brush, and timber can be extremely combustible. The vegetation can burn with great intensity and produce burning embers that can become wind-driven hazards. Assess your own risks by looking at both the horizontal and vertical characteristics of your space.
  • A wildfire can move horizontally from shrub to shrub and tree to tree. To prevent the horizontal spread of wildfire, thin shrubs and trees so they do not touch, leaving lots of space between individual shrubs and trees.
  • A wildfire can also travel vertically from the ground up into the treetops, resulting in a catastrophic crown fire. To prevent the vertical spread of wildfire, keep the lowest tree branches pruned and trimmed to maintain space between the top of shrubs and grasses to the lowest tree branches.
  • Create three concentric zones around the building. Zone 1, the zone closest to the building, needs to be kept the most free of fuels. Progressively each zone will require less modification to reduce potential fuels. Consult with local or state fire agencies for assistance. 

For more information on preparing for wildfires go to

Ready, Set, Go!

The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program, managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), seeks to develop and improve the dialogue between fire departments and the residents they serve. National studies have shown that firefighters are uniquely respected in their communities and can project a trusted voice in the public preparedness appeal. The program helps fire departments teach individuals who live in high risk wildfire areas – and the wildland-urban interface (WUI) – how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats. It helps residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts.

Creating a Household Emergency Plan

More than a collection of names, phone numbers, and street addresses, an Emergency Action Plan is an instruction manual for how to stay healthystay informedand stay in contact in an emergency. Because an Emergency Action Plan affects everyone in your household, the whole household should be involved in making and practicing the plan.

Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, and veterinarian. Other important numbers you should know include:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Animal Poison Control Helpline: 888-426-4435
  • Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222

Ask a friend or relative who lives outside of the immediate area—preferably in another state—to be your family’s Out-of-Town Contact.

Identify a shelter-in-place location inside your home, two (2) emergency meeting places outside your home where your family can reunite in an emergency, and at least two (2) ways out of every room in your home.

Ask your child’s school or daycare about their emergency communication and family reunification plans.

Update your Emergency Action Plan whenever your family moves, your child changes schools, you change jobs, have a child, or experience some other significant life event.

Do 1 Thing

Do 1 Thing is a 12-month program that makes it easy to prepare for emergencies or disasters.

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